Figures obtained from Solihull Council showed, on average, Labour Party members attended just 80 per cent of council meetings over the past 12 months, 12 per cent less than the Tories. While the Greens, previously attacked by Labour for low attendance, were two per cent higher with the Liberal Democrats at 89 per cent.
The worst offender was Coun Simon Slater (Lab, Shirley West) who attended just 18 of his 34 meetings, 53 per cent, although he organised substitutes for four of them.
Coun Slater said he was surprised to have come below the Greens as “they never seem to turn up to anything” and blamed scheduling for his absences.
“They have a tendency to schedule some meetings in the afternoon which is very difficult if you have to work.”
He also admitted becoming frustrated as an opposition member and combined with work commitments, he said he did not plan to stand for re-election.
“As an opposition member, it is very tough to achieve anything. I don’t think I will stand again anyway.”
Leader of the Labour group, Coun David Jamieson, admitted it was harder for councillors in full-time employment to keep up with their commitment.
“Younger people find it difficult to juggle work, a family and keep up their attendance to council meetings. It’s one of the problems of local government.
But he said, despite putting “a great store by attendance”, there was much more to being a good councillor.
Coun Robert Hulland (Con, Silhill) had the best record with 100 per cent attendance and no substitutions.
n See next week’s Solihull News for more from the attendance register.